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Producing Excellence

Randy Iedema

Hospers, IA

Rural Water System No. 1

Type of Operation: Water treatment

Size of Operation: 1,260 accounts

In Business Since: 1969

Farm Credit Partner: CoBank

Working with Farm Credit Since: 2000

Rural Water System No. 1 serves only 1,260 accounts in northwestern Iowa, but those customers include residents of two small communities, an ethanol plant, meat packing facilities and more than 15 million thirsty head of livestock — dairy cows, hogs, poultry and even dog breeders.

“With all that livestock, it’s not uncommon, when the temperature reaches over 85 degrees, for us to double our water usage in a day,” General Manager Randy Iedema said. “That stresses the system. We need more capacity and more flexibility. We can’t just be sitting here hoping we have enough water; we need a backup so our residents and livelihoods can be sustained.”

Working in partnership with CoBank and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Iedema created a strategic plan to dramatically increase the system’s capacity by purchasing 300 acres of land for a new well field and more than doubling the size of one of the system’s water treatment plants. The project, completed in 2011, allows Rural Water System No. 1 to tap different aquifers, creating a new supply of water that gives the system flexibility to meet the demands of local customers under any conditions.

CoBank has been providing financial services to Rural Water System No. 1 since 2000, but this was Iedema’s first experience with the bank in his role as general manager, a title he assumed in 2008. For him, CoBank’s industry knowledge and customer focus were keys to the project’s success.

“CoBank has been very willing to work with me and help me learn about the banking system,” he said. “It all went much smoother than I expected. In the end, CoBank helped ensure that the families Rural Water System No. 1 serves have the best quality and affordability that we can give them on a daily basis, which is critical to the lifestyle of everyone here in northwest Iowa.”

Download a PDF version of this story here.